Laser Eye Surgery And Pregnancy: Hormonal Changes And How They Can Affect Your Vision
During pregnancy and lactation, some women experience hormone-induced changes to their vision. These occur due to the extra oestrogen in your body, which can cause the collagen fibres in the eye to relax. This, in turn, can affect the shape of your cornea and the way that it refracts light.
Laser eye surgery isnt advised if your eye prescription has changed in the past two years because theres no guarantee your eyesight will remain stable following the procedure. If your prescription keeps changing after LASIK or LASEK, your vision wont remain optimal just as it wouldnt if you had glasses made to a specific prescription, which no longer suited your eyes.
Obviously, its a little more impractical to undergo further surgery a few months down the line than it is to get a new pair of lenses made for your glasses, so laser eye surgery is not advised during a period when your eyesight is likely to be unstable. Pregnancy, breastfeeding and LASIK are usually considered incompatible.
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Lasik Before During And After Pregnancy
As you more than likely know, pregnancy causes a lot of big changes in the body. There are a lot of pregnancy symptoms that people dont talk about. You hear about morning sickness, mood swings, swelling and that coveted pregnancy glow, but rarely do you hear anyone talk about how pregnancy can affect your eyes. Here at New York Eye Specialists, we value women as part of our diverse patient base. Therefore, we take into consideration their distinct needs when consulting and caring for them.
Pregnancy Hormones Change Your Vision
While being pregnant, you may notice your vision changing. Hormones change everything, including your vision when youre expecting.
If youve had LASIK before, you may notice that your vision is fluctuating while pregnant. This is totally normal, so feel free to blame the hormones! For most women, the vision changes during pregnancy or breastfeeding are just temporary.
It could take several months before your vision stabilizes after giving birth. Although uncommon, your vision could stay the same as well.
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Your Eyes During Pregnancy
Along with pregnancy come fluctuating hormones. Hormones such as hCG , estrogen, and progesterone all take on important roles in supporting the pregnancy. While it is well known that these hormones can cause pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness, nausea, and water retention, what is less often talked about is the effect they can have on the eyes. Blurred vision and dry eyes are common during pregnancy. Fluid dynamics can change too, causing fluctuations in corneal shape. There is also the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension, which can have adverse effects on the eyes.
These changes can happen as early as the first trimester, or they could onset later on. There could also be fluctuations throughout the pregnancy. This makes your eyes somewhat unpredictable over the course of these 9 months
Pregnancy Hormones & Vision Changes
Prescription eyeglasses and contacts provide temporary, or situational vision correction. You can see with your glasses on or your contacts in. The minute you remove whichever you are using, its right back to blurry faces and eye strain.
LASIK gives you almost permanent vision correction. For some patients, they may need enhancements if their vision changes after LASIK. So what are the reasons for vision changes after having had LASIK surgery?
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Ways In Which Pregnancy Might Affect Your Vision
Here are some common eye-related issues women face during pregnancy:
Potential Medical Complications During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can also lead to vision changes by inducing development or worsening of medical conditions such as diabetes and pre-clampsia . These conditions need to be carefully managed to prevent long term damages to the eyes, which would also be another reason to defer LASIK during pregnancy and/or nursing.
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Pregnancy & Your Vision
It is common to see visual fluctuations during pregnancy. LASIK should not be performed on any individual if the vision is not stabilized without changes in the eye prescription, usually for an entire year. It is also not unusual to see women who have worn contact lenses for years become intolerant and switch over to glasses, during pregnancy. As a result of hormonal changes and visual fluctuations, ophthalmologists tend to err on the side of caution and recommend waiting on LASIK eye surgery until vision has stabilized. This can happen once a baby is born and breastfeeding or nursing a child has ended. Typically, we recommend LASIK once a woman has had a couple of regular menstrual cycles to ensure the regulation of hormones.
Will Pregnancy Change My Vision
For about 10-15% of women, pregnancy leads to vision changes. These changes often reverse after baby is born, but for some women, the vision changes remain even after delivery. There are many causes for pregnancy vision changes including water retention and hormonal fluctuations.
Pregnancy can cause other changes to the eyes. These include:
- Dry Eye- Many women develop dry eye symptoms during pregnancy. The eyes may also be more irritated than normal. Many women have problems wearing their normal contacts because of these changes.
- Visual Disturbances- Some women report visual disturbances like halos, blind spots, and flashing lights during pregnancy. Sometimes these are caused by a type of migraine headache that is commonly experienced during pregnancy.
Throughout your pregnancy, report changes in your vision to your eye doctor.
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Answer: Pregnancy And Lasik
The major hormonal changes that women undergo during pregnancy can cause unpredictable healing. For that reason, I suggest that women avoid pregnancy for the first three months after LASIK and suggest that they wait until no longer pregnant and no long breast feeding before having surgery. Women who have had LASIK outside of these time periods rarely have any change in their vision.
Is There A Recovery Period After Lasik Surgery
Patients typically experience blurry vision right after surgery. Our team recommends going home and sleeping for 2 3 hours. Once youve let your eyes rest, you will typically notice a remarkable improvement in your vision the first day after surgery. Your eye surgeon will send you home with a recovery protocol which may include any of the following:
Rest your eyes to allow healing
Wear protective eyewear outdoors
Report any suspicious or painful symptoms
Attend all follow-up eye appointments
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Does Pregnancy Affect Lasik
Because LASIK surgeons rely on a patients current and accurate vision prescription to achieve the highest quality of results, it would not be wise to perform a laser eye procedureon a pregnant patient. While it is possible that the patients vision prescription might not change during pregnancy, it is also possible that it will change. And if the patients prescription changes again following pregnancyreverting back to what it was pre-pregnancythe patients LASIK results could change and need to be corrected with an additional eye procedure.
While it is safe to undergo a LASIK procedure while you are trying to conceive, we recommend planning your LASIK procedure for before pregnancy or several months after your baby has been delivered. If you are interested in a LASIK procedure and are ready to schedule your consultation, please reach out to our team. We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the timing of your procedure around a current or future pregnancy.
How Lasik Can Interfere
LASIK surgery itself is perfectly safe for women who are trying to become pregnant. However, it is suggested that you wait 2 to 6 months after your LASIK surgery to get pregnant, if possible. There are multiple reasons for this.
The first is that pregnancy hormones can drastically affect eyesight in around 10% of LASIK patients. A common pregnancy symptom is swelling, which is typically noticed in the legs, face, and feet. But your corneas can swell too! As your body starts to retain fluid, your corneas can actually change shape regardless of your LASIK surgery. This can result in vision regression, and may require an additional surgery after pregnancy.
Because of increased hormone production, common LASIK side effects such as dry eye and halos/glare around lights may become exacerbated. The drugs used during LASIK may not be healthy for a developing baby.
Here at Stahl, we believe in taking every precaution. That is why we recommend adding a time buffer of 2 to 6 months between LASIK surgery and pregnancy.
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Can Women Who Are Pregnant Or Nursing Have Lasik
LASIK surgery is a common procedure, which does not require the patient to be put under anesthesia or stay in a hospital. Although LASIK eye surgery is a popular outpatient procedure there are some restrictions and not everyone who desires LASIK surgery is a candidate for the procedure. Women who are pregnant or nursing are not candidates for LASIK eye surgery.
There are several reasons why pregnant women or nursing moms are not eligible for LASIK surgery. Beyond considering the health of the baby, having LASIK surgery while pregnant or nursing would not give women the desired results.
Should I Wait Until After Pregnancy To Have Lasik
Many people describe LASIK eye surgery as a life changing procedure. For people who have lived all or even most of their lives dependent on glasses or contact lenses for better vision, opening their eyes first thing in the morning and seeing clearly is truly incredible. In past blog posts, weve talked about the possible side effects of LASIK, risks of LASIK, LASIK for teenagers, and many other topics regarding LASIK eye surgery.
In todays blog post, were going to talk about LASIK eye surgery and pregnancyis it safe, what are the risks, and should women wait until after pregnancy to have LASIK?
LASIK and PregnancyIf youre currently pregnant, first off, congratulations! This is an exciting time in your life, and we know that there are so many things to consider and prepare as you get ready to bring a child into the world. Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in womens bodies. One of the less-talked about changes is vision.
Though generally temporary, there are a handful of changes that pregnancy can cause. The change and fluctuation of hormones can decrease tear production, resulting in dry or itchy eyes. Pregnancy can make your eyes more sensitive to light. Your vision might become blurry during your pregnancy you might notice your glasses or contact lenses arent as effective as they typically are. And finally, built-up fluid behind or in your eye could temporarily change the shape of your cornea.
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Is Lasik Eye Surgery Recommended In Pregnancy
In short, the answer is no. Undergoing LASIK eye surgery while pregnant isnt advisable because it can result in incorrect changes to your cornea.
Pregnancy is a time when the body is undergoing a variety of hormonal and physical changes. In fact, as the American Academy of Ophthalmology explains, some women experience variations in their vision while expecting due to these changes, which can alter your glasses or contact lens prescription.
Vision problems are often the result of an error in how our eyes refract light. LASIK eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea to correct the refraction. Prior to the procedure, we use advanced diagnostic technology and a variety of pre-operative tests to measure the thickness and shape of your cornea, which allows our team to create a pre-specified pattern that determines what shape the cornea must take to correct the refractive errors.
However, during pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause the cornea to change shape, which is why prescriptions can change. Specifically, the thickness and curvature of the cornea can increase due to the hormones, WebMD notes. Sometimes these changes are temporary, and your vision returns to what it was previously post-pregnancy. But there are other times in which these changes are permanent.
Am I An Ideal Candidate For Lasik Surgery
Both men and women are viable candidates for LASIK surgery if they:
Are over the age of 18
Currently exhibit symptoms of farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism
Have no current health issues that affect the eyes
Have had stable vision for the last 2 3 years
Our team will assess your personal and medical history to ascertain if you can safely participate in LASIK surgery and have a low risk for adverse reactions to the procedure.
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Pregnancy And The Eyes
Pregnancy is a time of major change for the body and that includes the eyes. Water retention can cause the cornea to change shape, leading to minor changes in your vision. Hormones can also affect your vision. During pregnancy, dry eye and visual disturbances are more common.
These side effects of pregnancy typically go away shortly after delivery when hormone levels revert to their pre-pregnancy state. If you plan to breastfeed, vision changes may linger until the baby is weaned.
You Need A Stable Prescription
To qualify for LASIK, you need to have a stable prescription for at least a year before. Thas because LASIK reshapes your cornea to give you clear vision.
If your prescription is shifting, it could mean your cornea is changing shape. If it changes after LASIK, it could undo your results from the procedure.
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What Is The Danger To The Fetus Or Infant During Lasik Eye Surgery
While the laser procedure itself doesnât cause harm to the fetus or infant, the medications that are used before, during, and after surgery may have an impact. Prior to LASIK, a sedative may be administered to help you relax during the procedure. During the procedure, anesthetic eye drops will be used to numb the eyes. After surgery, antibiotics and steroid eye drops are commonly prescribed. Patients are also given oral pain medication to help minimize any post-operative discomfort.
The effects of these drugs on an unborn child, or an infant in the case of a nursing mother, are largely unknown. Therefore, it is safest for pregnant women to avoid taking these medications unless necessary.
When Is It Safe To Have Lasik Surgery
Many women opt prior to pregnancy, due to the fact that theyre going to be so busy running around regarding the little one. You might want to think about scheduling your consultation when the baby begins to start grabbing, especially your face and glasses, or when you misplace your glasses because you have so many things on your mind. And contacts are time consuming, whether the contact lens in question wishes to cooperate and insert properly onto the eye, if eyes are still dry and scratchy, etc. Time is of the essence when a little one is around. And case in point, priorities will be on the baby.
But if you happen to be thinking about it around the time you discover youre pregnant, then its suggested to have the procedure a year after your baby is born, youve finished breastfeeding, and before you consider getting pregnant again. Only you and your doctor will know for certain when its the right time for you to get LASIK.
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Lasik Surgery And Pregnancy: Everything You Should Know
Posted in Uncategorized | July 5, 2018
The decision to start a family is huge and one that should be made only if it feels right. If you are in the midst of starting your family but have been thinking about getting LASIK, there are some things you should know first. Weve gathered all of the information we think women should know before attempting laser eye surgery while pregnant or nursing.
Hormones Tears Water Retention And Your Eyes
When you become pregnant, the hormones HCG , progesterone, estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and relaxin all take on important roles. HCG is the dominant one, sending signals to crucial parts of your body to nurture and protect the developing fetus.
Progesterone affects the uterus and the immune system estrogen is a primary factor in the development of the babys organs oxytocin, prolactin and relaxin prepare different parts of your body for labor, delivery and breastfeeding.
But hormones have side effects, too, and thats where pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, high or low blood pressure, heartburn, water retention and hair and skin changes are rooted.
In your eyes, these hormones can cause decreased tear production, which in turn can cause dry eyes and irritation, especially if you wear contact lenses. At the same time, the hormones that cause you to retain water in your joints can increase fluid buildup in your eyes, which can change the curvature of the cornea and affect your vision. Blurred vision is common in pregnancy, though more serious vision problems can be a symptom of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.